The inexpressibility of validity

Analysis 74 (1):65-81 (2014)
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Abstract

Tarski's Undefinability of Truth Theorem comes in two versions: that no consistent theory which interprets Robinson's Arithmetic (Q) can prove all instances of the T-Scheme and hence define truth; and that no such theory, if sound, can even express truth. In this note, I prove corresponding limitative results for validity. While Peano Arithmetic already has the resources to define a predicate expressing logical validity, as Jeff Ketland has recently pointed out (2012, Validity as a primitive. Analysis 72: 421-30), no theory which interprets Q closed under the standard structural rules can define nor express validity, on pain of triviality. The results put pressure on the widespread view that there is an asymmetry between truth and validity, viz. that while the former cannot be defined within the language, the latter can. I argue that Vann McGee's and Hartry Field's arguments for the asymmetry view are problematic

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Julien Murzi
University of Salzburg

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